Monday, June 8, 2015

Milkweed Chronicles - Asclepias Amplexicaulis, Clasping Milkweed

 Clasping Milkweed is perhaps the most common of our milkweed species here in the Sandhills, although it is so inconspicuous that it could easily escape the notice of a casual observer. 

It is unique among our native milkweeds for its wavy leaf margins
and the very loose and open arrangement of the flower head.

Commonly referred to as clasping milkweed because the pairs of opposite leaves appear to clasp the stem rather than attaching via a short petiole or stem of their own, 
this is the milkweed I recall from my childhood in the Sandhills, 

growing singly or in groups of two or three from a patch of white sand in the dappled sunlight beneath the pines.

While the foliage of clasping milkweed will do just fine as monarch food, its flowers attract a number of other pollinators and nectar lovers as well.

We hope you've enjoyed our (very) brief survey of some of the most common milkweeds in our area, and we encourage you to keep your eyes open for these and others in your neck of the woods;
together perhaps we can preserve and protect them during the prime butterfly breeding months this summer. 
We'll continue to monitor the patches we've found, and we'll try to bring you some more pictures of developing larvae (caterpillars) and butterflies in the weeks and months to come.

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